What to Do When Your Check Engine Light Is Flashing


Having the check engine light illuminate on your dashboard can be a cause for concern. However, when it begins flashing, it is a sign that there may be a serious issue with your vehicle that needs immediate attention. Ignoring a flashing check engine light could lead to severe damage to your car and potentially costly repairs. Here are some steps to take when your check engine light starts flashing:

1. Do not ignore it; take it seriously

A flashing check engine light is not something to be brushed off or ignored. It indicates that there is a severe issue with your vehicle’s engine that requires immediate attention. Ignoring it could lead to more damage and potentially put you and your passengers at risk. Take it seriously and address it promptly.

2. Reduce your speed and avoid heavy acceleration

When your check engine light flashes, it is best to reduce your speed and avoid heavy acceleration. This minimizes the stress on your engine, reduces the risk of causing further damage, and increases your chances of reaching a safe location or a nearby mechanic for assistance. Slowing down and driving with caution is crucial.

3. Check for any obvious problems

While it is not recommended for an untrained individual to attempt to fix the issue themselves, you can still check for any obvious problems under the hood. Look for loose or damaged wires, disconnected hoses, or any signs of leaks. If you notice something unusual and believe you can address it safely, go ahead. Otherwise, leave it to a professional.

4. Stop the car and turn off the engine if necessary

If your vehicle starts exhibiting severe symptoms, such as loud noises, excessive smoke, or a loss of power, it might be safer to stop the car completely and turn off the engine. These symptoms may indicate a significant issue that requires immediate attention and may be beyond your ability to fix temporarily. Park your car in a safe location and seek assistance.

5. Get your vehicle diagnosed by a professional

Once you have reached a safe location, it is essential to have your vehicle diagnosed by a professional mechanic. A flashing check engine light can be caused by various issues, ranging from minor to severe. A mechanic will use specialized diagnostic equipment to identify the specific problem and provide you with an accurate assessment of the repair required.

6. Follow the advice of the mechanic

After the mechanic has diagnosed the issue, it is crucial to follow their advice regarding the necessary repairs. The mechanic will inform you of the severity of the problem, the estimated cost of repairs, and whether it is safe to continue driving the vehicle. Trust their expertise and make an informed decision based on their recommendations.

7. Seek a second opinion if necessary

If the cost or severity of the repairs seems excessive or if you are uncertain about the mechanic’s assessment, do not hesitate to seek a second opinion. Another professional’s perspective may provide you with additional insight and help you make a more informed decision about how to proceed with the repairs.

8. Regular maintenance and checks to prevent future issues

To minimize the occurrence of a flashing check engine light in the future, it is crucial to follow regular maintenance schedules for your vehicle. This includes routine oil changes, filter replacements, and regular inspections. Regular maintenance can help you identify and address potential issues before they escalate into more serious problems.


A flashing check engine light should never be taken lightly. It indicates a severe issue with your vehicle’s engine that requires immediate attention. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure your safety and prevent further damage to your car. Remember, always consult a professional mechanic for an accurate diagnosis and advice on necessary repairs.

Need a Mechanic in La Grande, OR?

If you’re looking for professional assistance with maintaining your Subaru or have any questions about the tips and tricks mentioned, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Integrity Automotive. Our experienced team is here to provide you with expert service and guidance to ensure your Subaru remains in top-notch condition. We specialize in Subaru maintenance and can help you keep your vehicle running smoothly for years to come. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and experience the difference of choosing Integrity Automotive for all your Subaru’s maintenance needs. Your Subaru deserves the best, and that’s precisely what we offer!